Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Roy Dean Sexton, September 27, 2011

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Growing up in eastern Kentucky as a gay man

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Partial Transcript: I'm gonna do a little introduction real fast. Um, this is the uh, this is Zack Pence with the Appalachian Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Roy talks about his childhood, fitting in at school, first gay experiences, and going to college.

Keywords: Coal business.; Different; Fitting in; Harlan County (Ky.); Pentecostal

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Gay teenagers.; Gay youth.; Homosexuality and education.; Homosexuality.

00:04:52 - Not acting on feelings of homosexuality

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Partial Transcript: Uh, well how did you feel about yourself? Like did you, did, was there, did you at any point think oh, I need to really, really keep a close eye on myself and what I do?

Segment Synopsis: Roy talks about religious upbringing and his family's social standing.

Keywords: Attraction; Community; Dating; Religion; Rural

Subjects: Closeted gays.; Coming out (Sexual orientation).; Gay teenagers.; Homosexuality--Religious aspects.; Homosexuality.

00:06:28 - First boyfriend

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Partial Transcript: So, in college, how did that change? How did being in a...?

Segment Synopsis: Talks about experiences in college as a closeted homosexual. Talks about marrying his ex-wife.

Keywords: College; Parents; Secrecy

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Closeted gays.; Education; Gay couples.; Homosexuality--Religious aspects.; Homosexuality.; Parents of gays.

00:10:26 - Death of first boyfriend / divorce

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Partial Transcript: Last time I seen him for a long time. And then when I was married, uh, I brought it up one day. My wife was real good friends with him, too, in college.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about reuniting with his first boyfriend and his death from AIDS. Talks about divorcing wife. Talks about other gay relationships.

Keywords: Coming out; Death; Regret; Relationships; Society

Subjects: AIDS (Disease); Children of gay parents; Gay couples; Gay men--United States.; Homosexuality.; Parents of gays.

00:16:10 - Living in Corbin

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Partial Transcript: But, uh, but me and him, we lived in Corbin, in Corbin for over eleven-well we first lived over in Barbourville. And... then we lived in Corbin for probably nine years.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about first openly gay relationship. Talks about fears of being openly gay. Talks about being accepted in the community.

Keywords: Acceptance; Anxiety; Corbin (Ky.); Fears

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay couples.; Homosexuality.

00:18:07 - Relationship with children

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Partial Transcript: And then, also, I'll go, I'll go back to, I was telling you, I've got three kids. And my kids, uh, when I divorced, they were 9, 10, and 11.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about children knowing and accepting his homosexuality.

Keywords: Acceptance; Family; Grandchildren; High school; Parents

Subjects: Children of gay parents.

00:21:20 - Being openly gay at work

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Partial Transcript: Mmhm. Well what do you do for a living?

Segment Synopsis: Roy talks about his occupation. Talks about his homosexuality being accepted by the people he interacts with at work.

Keywords: Acceptance; Catering; Occupation; Restaurants

Subjects: Gay couples.; Homosexuality in the workplace.

00:23:10 - Meeting current boyfriend / meeting boyfriend's parents

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Partial Transcript: But then, yeah, one of the restaurants I met Buster. Um, one, my general, my assistant manager, she come in and she said, uh, "I've got somebody I want you to meet."

Segment Synopsis: Roy talks about his introduction to Buster. Talks about helping Buster come out to his parents.

Keywords: Acceptance; Corbin (Ky.); Family; Introductions; Tolerance

Subjects: Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay couples.; Gays--Family relationships.; Parents of gays.

00:27:47 - Refusing to distinguish between gay and straight communities / relationship with Buster

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Partial Transcript: You know, I've got, I've got friends that go to gay churches, they go to gay campgrounds, they go to gay everything. And to me, that just takes away from everything if it's all gay.

Segment Synopsis: Roy talks about not wanting to immerse himself entirely in the gay culture. Talks about making his relationship with Buster last by avoiding gay community.

Keywords: Church; Gay bars; Progression; Relationships; Tolerance

Subjects: Gay community; Gay couples.; Gay culture.; Same-sex marriage.

00:34:55 - Hometown acceptance

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Partial Transcript: And even small communities, where I'm from, they all know I'm gay now. And, uh, it's a kind of a rough little community.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about his hometown community being accepting of his homosexuality. Talks about change in tolerance over time.

Keywords: Communities; Harlan County (Ky.); Rural; Tolerance

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Homosexuality.

00:36:52 - The word "queer"

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Partial Transcript: Which now it even seems weird to say the word queer to me.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about how the word "queer" changed over time.

Keywords: Language; Offense; Word meaning

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Homosexuality--Social aspects.; Queer action/queer ideas

00:38:35 - HIV

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Partial Transcript: How did you, uh, or do, like your experience, with, like, you know, having a friend with HIV. Uh, in a time when there was a lot less understanding of what that disease even was.

Segment Synopsis: Discusses HIV education in eastern Kentucky. Talks about interaction with gay friends with HIV.

Keywords: Appalachia; Education; Lexington (Ky.); Poverty; Rural communities; Secrecy; Taboo

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Gay community.; Gay culture.; HIV infections

00:46:33 - Not having a typical gay life

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Partial Transcript: Well is there anything else that you'd like to touch on? That we haven't.

Segment Synopsis: Talks about always having a monogamous relationship. Concludes interview.

Keywords: Monogamy; Normal; Perceptions; Personality

Subjects: Gay community.; Homosexuality.